AMCC News

AMCC Engine Revved Up for Fall While Director Search Continues

Date Posted: September 14, 2017       Category: AMCC Blog

AMCC is re-opening the search process for an Executive Director after an initial first round of trying to identify our next leader. Outgoing Executive Director, Kelly Harrell, will be departing the organization October 15th after nearly 7 years at the helm. We will be announcing the appointment of an Interim Director in the coming weeks. We had hoped to find the right person for the job before Kelly departed, but we also know that this is a very unique position and filling this important role will take time and patience. Our dedicated Board is committed to a  successful transition and is working with staff to ensure the organization continues to fire on all cylinders. The updated Executive Director job posting can be found here. Please share!

While the organization is entering a period of transition with this and other roles being filled, our core team and our work remain strong. We have some exciting developments underway this fall. In the coming month, we will be unveiling a new brand for our local seafood sales that will be tied into our fall offering. Stay tuned for exciting news and events around the launch and contact David Fleming, our Local Seafood Sales Manager at david@akmarine.org with questions or to help out with the launch. Anchorage folks can still order Homer halibut now for the freezers

October also kicks off the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) meeting season. Long-time AMCC staffer Theresa Peterson will step back into her role as one of 11 voting members on the Council. Deputy Director Shannon Carroll will also be back in action on the Council’s Advisory Panel. Both Theresa and Shannon will be attending the Council’s Ecosystem Committee meeting in Seattle next week. This will be Theresa’s first meeting after being appointed as co-chair of the committee in June. For more information on the Ecosystem Committee click here.  

Theresa remains active in connecting rural communities around Kodiak on federal fish policy issues and is aiming to expand that role by engaging with western Alaska and other communities in the future.

Shannon has his finger on the pulse of Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA) reauthorization and continues to serve in a leadership roles with both the Fishing Communities Coalition and Marine Fish Conservation Network. He recently delivered invited testimony on MSA at a Senate field hearing in Soldotna. You can view the video of that hearing here.

The Young Fishermen’s Development Program Act, a bill that would create a grant program to bolster the next generation of fishermen and was developed by AMCC and partners, is also gaining momentum in Congress. Stay tuned for how you can show your support for the Act. AMCC will be at Pacific Marine Expo in Seattle once again this year with more info on  our fisheries policy work in Seattle so stop by our booth and say hello to Theresa and Shannon there! 

Our Working Waterfronts Program led by Dr. Rachel Donkersloot is also moving ahead full steam. In October, Rachel travels to Santa Barbara to meet with researchers, fishermen and managers to advance work on better integrating well-being concepts into fisheries management through the State of Alaska Salmon and People initiative. At the same time, she is wrapping up a multi-year social science research project in collaboration with UAF and Alaska Sea Grant aimed at identifying barriers and solutions to supporting the next generation of fishermen. The Graying of the Fleet project is coming to a conclusion in the next few several months but exciting outreach products are being created like tips for beginning fishermen, PSAs, and short videos. Check out the project’s Facebook page here for tips and more to come.

The Alaska Young Fishermen’s Network (AYFN) is also in high gear under the leadership of Rachel. Five young fishermen from across the state will take on roles with host organizations this fall in the first cohort of AMCC’s  Young Fishing Fellows Program. We are also gearing up to host a strategic planning retreat for the Alaska Young Fishermen’s Network at the end of October. This gathering will bring together young fishermen from across the state to develop a future vision for the AYFN. After over a year of development, the first ever Young Fishermen’s Almanac will be published in December. The Almanac is  a compelling compilation of tales, poetry, artwork and musings by young fishermen from across the state. We’ll be hosting launch parties and more to celebrate the publication and the role of the next generation in Alaska’s fishing industry and communities.

Rachel and Kelly will also be heading to Bristol Bay next week to help guide a workshop on seafood marketing and branding for students in the region. AMCC plans to continue partnering with the Bristol Bay Borough School District and others to grow the region’s first fisheries focused Career and Technical Education (CTE) training in the future.

Our ocean acidification kiosk moved to Cordova in August and can be found at the Cordova Center thanks to a partnership with the Prince William Sound Science Center. We’re continuing to work with the Alaska Ocean Observing System and other partners to connect fishermen and coastal residents to the science on ocean acidification. You can stay up-to-date by signing up for the Alaska Ocean Acidification Network here. Videos from the kiosk can be viewed here. 

So while the makeup of our team is changing in the coming months, our vision, mission and commitment to addressing issues that impact the health of our fisheries and communities remains strong. Our team, our programs, and our work is as important and as active as ever. We thank our members and partners for your support that makes this work possible! Please feel free to reach out to any staff or board members with any thoughts or concern during this period. We are confident AMCC that we will weather this transition and come out stronger than before.

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Join Our Crew: Hiring Two New Positions

Date Posted: August 29, 2017       Category: AMCC Blog Uncategorized       Tags: AMCC jobs

AMCC Bids Farewell to Hannah Heimbuch & Jen Leahy; Hiring Two New Positions

AMCC is seeking two talented individuals to complement our current team: a Fishing Community Organizer and a Communications and Development Manager. Deadline to apply for both positions is Monday, September 18th; but apply early as the positions are open until filled.

AMCC bid farewell to Homer-based Community Fisheries Organizer, Hannah Heimbuch this summer. Hannah joined AMCC in the fall of 2014 and played an integral role in growing the Alaska Young Fishermen’s Network, serving as a voice for fishing communities in Washington D. C., and engaging coastal residents on a wide range of issues from ocean acidification to fishing opportunities and bycatch reduction. We will miss Hannah’s creativity, character, and unrelenting wit, but we are thrilled to know that she will be able to spend more time on the water doing what she loves. Hannah will be focusing more of my energy on her fishing business and creative opportunities while continuing to support the Alaska Young Fishermen’s Network as a steering committee member and volunteer.

In September, AMCC will also say goodbye to Communications and Engagement Manager, Jen Leahy. Jen has been with AMCC since early 2016 and has helped enhance social media engagement, improve our outreach materials, ramp up marketing for Catch of the Season, and increase our presence in Seward. The organization is restructuring this position back into a role based in Anchorage and responsible for both communications and fundraising functions from our main office. We thank Jen for her dedication to AMCC and her work during her time with us.

Please click here to view the new position postings. 

 

 

 



Local Halibut Available in Anchorage

Date Posted: August 15, 2017       Category: AMCC Blog       Tags: Catch of the Season, Local Seafood

Copy of halibut ad_fbPacific Halibut Now Available in Anchorage!

Caught by two long-time Homer resident fishermen in Gulf of Alaska waters with longline gear. Packaged as 10-12 oz. frozen, vacuum-sealed, boneless, skin-on portions. Halibut is $20 per lb. and the minimum purchase is 5 lbs. Available for pickup at the AMCC office in Anchorage.

Email seafood@akmarine.org or call (907) 277-5368 during office hours of 9am-5:30pm M-F to place your order! 

**Stay tuned for our Fall 2017 Catch seafood offerring that will once again feature Norton Sound king crab!**



Member Spotlight: Su Salmon Co.

Date Posted: July 31, 2017       Category: AMCC Blog       Tags: Business Members, Fisheries Conservation, Working Waterfronts

AMCC is thrilled to welcome Su Salmon Co. as our newest business member! Su Salmon Co. is five friends who setnet sockeye and silvers on the Susitna River Delta at the base of the Sleeping Lady. They are Anchorage and the Mat-Su Valley’s most local commercial fishery with a twin focus of providing fresh, high quality fish to Alaska residents, and deepening human connection to the Susitna River and Cook Inlet in the process. 

Salmon are picked live from the net, bled, chilled in slush ice, gutted, gilled, kissed and delivered to Anchorage or Talkeetna within 24 hours. They deliver on Tuesdays and Fridays. Ordering is simple – just let them know how many fish you need with a couple days notice. Prices are $6/lb for sockeye and $4.50/lb for silvers. Order online at susalmonco.com, email susalmonco@gmail.com or call Melissa at 907.242.0779. 

Tell us about your connection to the ocean and to Alaska’s wild fisheries. 

We have an obvious literal connection of making money from the salmon resources of Alaska’s coastline, but our being here is a little ironic because at heart we’re river people. Mike and Molly live upstream from Talkeetna on a remote off-grid part of the Su while I (Ryan) live in Anchorage but have spent years as a river sportfishing guide all through salmon country from California to Kamchatka. Yet here we are in the mud of Cook Inlet.

How did you first get started fishing? 

Joshua Foreman_3217We came together a few years ago when the State proposed the colossal Susitna-Watana Dam Project. The Su means a lot to us personally and professionally and the thought of it being choked by a dam was spooky. Public reaction to the dam meanwhile was sort of ho-hum and it surprised us that even though the Susitna is a top 5 salmon-producer and the single most visited watershed in Alaska, people did not jump up to defend it as fervently as they are doing in Bristol Bay with the Pebble Mine, for example, or even on the Kenai recently with the Snow River Dam proposal. We wanted to do something to help boost the Susitna’s cultural cachet. Then, market-wise, there was this funny coincidence of Anchorage and the Mat-Su not having a local commercial salmon source. Finally, we’re all good friends and suckers for camping out on the coast and watching the salmon parade in real time and eating them every day. Su Salmon Co just sort of sprung out of all this.

What is the most rewarding (or challenging) part of your business? 

We started Su Salmon Co with the idea of selling fresh salmon to Alaska residents. But the premise was a little risky. What self respecting Alaskan doesn’t harvest their own salmon? Well it turns our there are a lot! Not everyone is able to get out dipnetting, or they go but have bad luck, or some don’t get off on fishing in the first place. But everyone in Alaska eats salmon and likes to have it in the freezer by fall. Alaskans also inherently know what excellent rather than merely good salmon should look, taste, and feel like. So the most rewarding part of our business is providing people in our communities with that little endorphin buzz that comes with every bite of a perfect wild salmon.

Why do you choose to support AMCC? 

Joshua Foreman_3210Alaska has more coastline than the rest of the US combined. With few people and endless natural resources, we’re rich. To capitalize on it in a meaningful way, though, takes investment and participation in community as much as industry. AMCC seems to get this and we like how their stewardship keeps eyes on the big picture.

What is your most vivid fishing memory, or what do you love most about fishing?

Personally, my initial introduction to Alaska’s amazing salmon resources came from flyfishing. I still think it’s about the most fun you can have. I’d been around commercial fishing a lot growing up but never participated in it directly. So when we laid out the net for the first time in 2015 and fish started hitting it, it was a surprise to recognize the electric rush that came from it as the same exact one you feel when a fish grabs your fly.

How do you celebrate your connection to the ocean as an Alaskan? 

“First fish” bbqs, winter king sushi parties, smoked salmon, shorebird festivals, solstice beach bonfires, taking pictures, telling stories, shrimping, hunting, and a million other ways. The active choice to live in Alaska on the coast is in and of itself a statement of celebration.

What do you see as the biggest threat to Alaska’s small-boat commercial fisherman?

Ryan Peterson_aerialClean environment and commerce are so intertwined in Alaska as to often be indistinguishable from one another. We’re so thankful for the sophisticated, successful fisheries management in Alaska that has protected against over harvest better than anywhere in the world. But it’s the massive threats from outside the fishing industry that are of highest concern. Mining, Damming of rivers, irresponsible logging in fish habitat – if salmon could vote they would vote against these things every time. Then there is ocean acidification driven by global warming–a terrifying problem we are just starting to understand and are all contributing to through our fossil fuel use. In short, the biggest threats to fishing are the same ones facing all life on earth.


Fisheries Policy Update: Summer 2017

It’s hard for many of us to keep up on what’s happening on the policy front during the long, busy days of summer. Fortunately, our fisheries policy guru Shannon Carroll has the latest on the Young Fishermen’s Development Act from D.C. and key takeaways from June’s North Pacific Fishery Management Council meeting.

Young Fishermen’s Development Act

AMCC is extremely appreciative of Senators Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Ed Markey (D-MA), and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) for cosponsoring the Young Fishermen’s Development Act, a bipartisan and bicoastal bill that would give fishing communities a needed boost by addressing steep and growing obstacles facing the next generation of America’s commercial fishermen. The Senate legislation, which aligns closely with a House version introduced in April by U.S. Reps. Don Young (R-AK) and Seth Moulton (D-MA), would launch the first coordinated, nationwide effort to train, educate and assist the next generation of commercial fishermen, providing grants of up to $200,000 (totaling $2 million annually) through NOAA’s Sea Grant Program. The introduction of the legislation in both the House and Senate clearly reflects the Alaska delegation’s commitment to improving access to our state’s fisheries.

While we are grateful for the introduction of the bill, it is essential that we continue to build support for this important piece of legislation. 

***

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) met in Juneau this past month, and as always, the June meeting was busy.

Abundance-based management for Bering Sea halibut bycatch

The Council made tangible progress on the issue of abundance-based management (ABM), by providing further direction for the ABM workgroup related to the various indices of abundance under consideration. The Council also provided input on, among other things, the range of starting points and the types of control rules it would like to see it would like to see in the next discussion paper. Importantly, the State of Alaska, in making the Council’s motion, explicitly reiterated that it supported the development of ABM in a timely manner because it wants to rebalance the parity between the directed halibut fishery and the groundfish fishery, while also reducing bycatch and ensuring a directed fishery in the Bering Sea.

AMCC continues to view ABM as a means of providing a science-based approach to halibut bycatch management in the Bering Sea. The development of this policy has been slower than we expected; nonetheless, we see great value in ensuring that the foundation of the policy—the index of abundance—is well vetted and robust. At the same time, we also recognize that the root of this issue is the prioritization of the groundfish fishery bycatch over the directed fishery, particularly at low levels of halibut abundance. This is an essential element of this action and one that requires a timely resolution, as continued access to the halibut resource is of great cultural and economic significance to the communities in the Bering Sea. These two concepts—a science-based approach to halibut bycatch and reprioritization of the directed halibut fishery—are not at odds and we believe that the Council is on right path to accomplish both.

Central Gulf of Alaska Tanner Crab

After reviewing a discussion paper on existing federal protections for Tanner crab in the central Gulf of Alaska, the Council initiated a follow-up discussion paper that will provide data on flatfish trawl and pot cod fishing effort in specific areas off of Kodiak, as well as observer coverage rates in those areas.

The Tanner crab fishery is an important small-boat fishery for communities throughout Kodiak Island. The State of Alaska has closed the fishery for the last four years due to poor abundance of mature male Tanner crabs. While there are likely many factors involved in the recent low abundance of crab in Kodiak, AMCC supports the Council’s efforts to ensure that it has the data it needs to make informed decisions regarding habitat closures, bycatch limits, and observer coverage.  

North Pacific Observer Program

The Council made reviewed the observer program annual report, which provides a scientific evaluation of the deployment of observers so that the Council can assess whether the objectives of the Observer Program have been met. This review was done in the context of reviewing the 2018 Annual Deployment Plan and the renewal of the partial coverage observer contract. The Council expressed concerned over the levels of funding for the observer program, which have resulted in lower levels of observer coverage. To address these concerns, the Council tasked a subgroup of the Observer Advisory Committee to consider options to address low sampling rates in partial coverage, and a scoping of data concerns and potential solutions related to vessels delivering to tenders. The subgroup will report its findings this fall.

***

As we look ahead to the October meeting, several policy priorities are emerging:

Abundance-based management for Bering Sea halibut bycatch

For the third meeting in a row, the Council will seek to make progress on ABM. The discussion paper for the October meeting will likely provide a significant amount of substantive information as the Council looks to begin selecting alternatives and options to move forward.

Bering Sea Fishery Ecosystem Plan

The Council will be taking a preliminary look at the proposed fishery ecosystem plan (FEP) for the Bering Sea. AMCC has been actively engaged and in support of the Bering Sea FEP. We believe that the FEP presents an opportunity to build more adaptive and resilient management processes that can better reduce bycatch, conserve important habitat, protect marine food webs, monitor ecosystem health, and evaluate the ecological, social, and economic trade-offs of different management actions. The meeting in October will be an important opportunity to help define the direction of the FEP in a way that can help achieve our shared fishery goals.

***

Shannon Carroll is AMCC’s deputy director. 



Order Now: Bristol Bay Sockeye Salmon

Date Posted: June 29, 2017       Category: AMCC Blog       Tags: bristol bay sockeye salmon, Catch of the Season
know your fishermen_direct email
The reds are running, which means our most popular seafood offering of the year is here! Catch of the Season, AMCC’s community supported fishery (CSF) is once again thrilled to provide Alaskans with wild sockeye salmon direct from Bristol Bay. This year’s catch will be sustainably harvested and handled with care by the Hill family and Kvichak Fish Company.

 

Shares will be available in 10, 25, and 50 lb. sizes, from $10/lb. Pick-up locations include Anchorage, Fairbanks, Homer, Seward and Palmer-Wasilla.

 

Visit catchoftheseason.org for more details and to order your sockeye.

 

For questions or media inquiries, contact seafood@akmarine.org.


AMCC Announces Transition of Executive Director & Launch of Search Process

Date Posted: June 26, 2017       Category: AMCC Blog

From Jon Zuck, Board Chair of Alaska Marine Conservation Council

Click here for the Executive Director Job Announcement

The Board of Directors of the Alaska Marine Conservation Council announces the pending departure of long-time Executive Director (ED), Kelly Harrell from the organization in October.  After seven years at the helm of AMCC as the ED and over twelve years on staff with the organization, Kelly is expanding her professional horizons. She will start a position with Ecotrust based in Anchorage as the Director of Fisheries and Coastal Communities.

Kelly’s tenure with AMCC as ED has been one of growth, expansion of programs, successes and many accomplishments.  Results during this time period that were achieved thanks to the support and partnerships from people like you include:

  • Helping to lead a coalition that succeeded in securing permanent protection for Bristol Bay from offshore oil and gas drilling (protection that was not unraveled by recent Trump administration actions);
  • Transforming Catch of the Season into a successful social enterprise that brings seafood caught by Alaskans to Alaskans, and is based on a robust business model that was a winner in the international Fish 2.0 competition;
  • Building an impressive staff team and growing a respected and effective presence for AMCC in the federal fisheries management process;
  • Steadily diversifying AMCC’s revenue and increasing the organization’s budget by more than 100% in the last 5 years;
  • Creating signature programs like the Alaska Young Fishermen’s Network and developing national legislation to authorize a Young Fishermen’s Development Program to provide training and education for the next generation;
  • Gaining recognition for our contributions by receiving the Alaska Conservation Foundation 2016 Lowell Thomas, Jr. Award for Outstanding Achievements, and being noted as “Best Fish Advocate” and “Best Go-To-Bat-For-Fishermen” by Alaska fisheries journalist, Laine Welch;
  • Catalyzing the movement and statewide interest towards practical and informed solutions to keep fishing opportunities in our coastal communities;
  • Fostering smart solutions to bycatch in the Gulf of Alaska and the Bering Sea that consider the needs of local communities and long-term conservation;
  • Helping to build a national coalition of small-scale fishermen ready to defend the Magnuson-Stevens Act through the Fishing Communities Coalition;
  • Advancing an ecosystem-based approach to management in the North Pacific—one that addresses fishing impacts, supports inclusive decision-making and considers the effects of climate change;
  • Supporting research, action, and engagement on the impacts of ocean acidification on Alaska’s fisheries and fishing communities;
  • Growing the role of fisheries in the food movement through partnerships with organizations like the Alaska Food Policy Council and LocalCatch.org.

We are all very proud of these accomplishments.  Kelly helped guide AMCC through difficult times and a national recession to an organization that is financially stable and an effective advocate for our coastal communities and working waterfronts.

This is a great opportunity for Kelly to continue to launch her career forward and carry with her the successes of the past 7 years and the name of AMCC.  We wish her well.

This is also a great opportunity for AMCC to hire a new Executive Director who meets the current needs of the organization and who will carry forward and build on these successes. The coming months will be a time of leadership transition for AMCC and more growth for the organization.

Kelly will continue working in her current capacity for roughly 4 months and will help in the search, training and transition of her replacement.  During this time and after completion of the leadership transition, AMCC, its membership and seasoned staff will continue as before with programmatic work and continue to achieve great results.

A far-reaching search for Kelly’s replacement at AMCC will immediately commence.  Please see the following job posting and distribute it far and wide to those who may be interested. We thank you so much for your support of AMCC.

Sincerely,

Jon Zuck, AMCC Board Chair

 

A Letter from Kelly Harrell, Executive Director on Departure from AMCC

Dear friends and partners of AMCC,

It is with a deep sense of gratitude and optimism for the future that I recently submitted my letter of resignation to the AMCC Board of Directors. After 12 amazing years with AMCC, I will be leaving the organization as of October 15th to transition into a new role. I am so thankful for the opportunity to work with so many of you to help guide AMCC into a new era, and am confident in the strength of the organization today. The AMCC staff team is extremely talented and experienced, and our programmatic work will continue unimpeded under the tremendous leadership of Shannon Carroll and Rachel Donkersloot.

The position I have accepted with Ecotrust as Director of Fisheries and Coastal Communities represents a major opportunity to generate impact on issues important to us all. In this new role, I will help create a fresh vision for the organization’s fisheries program and am excited to engage on a larger geographic scale with communities from Alaska to California. I will continue to be based in Anchorage with travel to the Ecotrust main office in Portland, and to other coastal communities. I hope that through the Community Fisheries Network, and in other capacities, we will build on the long history of collaboration between Ecotrust, fishing organizations, and fishing communities including in Alaska.

I am deeply committed to working with the AMCC Board of Directors to ensure a successful transition and find an excellent replacement. Please know that even though I am changing roles, my passion and support for AMCC, and for healthy fisheries and coastal communities is not diminished, and I look forward to staying connected and working with you all in my new capacity.

Please do not hesitate to contact myself or Board Chair, Jon Zuck at director@akmarine.org , with any questions you may have about the transition, or to pass along any ideas for stellar candidates.

Sincerely,

Kelly Harrell

Kelly@akmarine.org



Young Fishermen’s Bill Introduced in U.S. Senate

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 12, 2017

Young Fishermen’s Bill Introduced in U.S. Senate

Initiative Gains Momentum as Senators Sullivan (AK), Murkowski (AK), Markey (MA) & Cantwell (WA) Champion Effort to Assist Next Generation of Commercial Fishermen

Washington, DC – The Fishing Communities Coalition (FCC) today applauded Senators Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Ed Markey (D-MA) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) for cosponsoring the Young Fishermen’s Development Act (S.1323). The bipartisan and bicoastal bill, a top FCC priority, would give fishing communities a needed boost by addressing steep and growing obstacles – including high cost of entry and limited entry-level opportunities – facing the next generation of America’s commercial fishermen.

“The growing bipartisan momentum behind this bill is very encouraging and shows that leaders in both parties understand that fishermen in today’s world need to know a lot more than simply how to fish,” says John Pappalardo, CEO of the Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen’s Alliance. “We appreciate Senator Markey’s leadership in getting this program off the ground because it will give the next generation of fishermen training in fisheries management, business planning and market development tools they’ll need to make a good living bringing sustainable seafood to Americans.”

The Senate legislation, which aligns closely with a House version introduced in April by U.S.Reps. Don Young (R-AK) and Seth Moulton (D-MA), would launch the first coordinated, nationwide effort to train, educate and assist the next generation of commercial fishermen, providing grants of up to $200,000 (totaling $2 million annually) through NOAA’s Sea Grant Program.

“As one of those dependent on the long-term success of our working waterfronts, I’m very grateful to Senators Sullivan and Murkowski for supporting legislation that recognizes the challenges today’s fishermen face,” said Hannah Heimbuch, an Alaska commercial fisherman who also works for Alaska Marine Conservation Council. “By supporting independent fishermen with this action, we have an opportunity to bolster American food security and the health of coastal communities.”

The bill is modeled after the USDA’s successful Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program, which is credited with preparing hundreds of young farmers and ranchers for rewarding careers in agriculture. Young fishermen representing FCC members from every U.S. coast recently traveled to Washington, DC to urge legislators to support the initiative.

“Fishing employs more Alaskans than any other industry in the state, but high barriers and costs remain for newer generations attempting to fill the ranks of this vital sector of our economy,” said Senator Dan Sullivan (R-AK). “This legislation will coalesce regional efforts to lower these barriers through new grants, training opportunities and an apprenticeship program that will help harness the experience of seasoned fishermen. Replenishing the stocks of qualified stewards of our fisheries will help ensure Alaska remains the superpower of seafood.”

“For centuries, fishing has been at the heart of coastal communities in Massachusetts, but it is an increasingly challenging one for new fishermen to join,” said Senator Ed Markey (D-MA). “This legislation will help make sure that our fishing industry continues to attract future generations of fishermen. These training programs will help young men and women be able to push off the dock into new careers and make vital economic contributions to their communities.”

About the Young Fishermen’s Development Act

Founded in 1994, Alaska Marine Conservation Council is a community-based, nonprofit organization committed to protecting the long-term health of Alaska’s marine ecosystems and sustaining the working waterfronts of our state’s coastal communities. Our members include fishermen, subsistence harvesters, marine scientists, business owners, conservationists, families, and others who care deeply about Alaska’s oceans.

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Why We Support Regional Fisheries Trusts

By Rachel Donkersloot & Shannon Carroll

Genetic diversity, life history and age structure are important attributes of healthy fisheries. For example, we know that life history factors, including changes in population size structure or species composition, and recruitment variability affect the ecological sustainability of fisheries. Same goes for spatial factors such as a reduction in the geographic range of a fish population or the loss of a subpopulation.

But fisheries are not just ecological systems. Fisheries are socioecological systems and attributes of diversity, history and age structure are important dimensions to consider in social and cultural contexts as well.

rft blog_quote_2Weak recruitments into commercial fisheries in recent decades, termed the graying of the fleet, paired with dramatic shifts in the spatial distribution of fishing benefits and ownership rights, threaten the social and cultural sustainability of Alaska fisheries and fishing communities.

Today, more than three-quarters of Bristol Bay salmon permits are held by nonlocals. Kodiak’s Alutiiq villages have suffered an 84% decrease in the number of young people owning state fishing permits, and a 67% decrease in the number of state permits overall. In the southeast villages of Angoon, Hoonah, Hydaburg, and Kake, the number of young people owning state permits dropped sharply from 131 to only 17 between 1985-2013. These shifts have profound consequences for the health and well-being of Alaska fishery systems.

There is a lot of talk about Alaska’s graying fleet today. A central concern is how the future succession of fishery access rights (i.e., permits, quota) will exacerbate the already high levels of loss experienced in Alaska’s fishing communities. These concerns are well founded but it is worth remembering that our aging fleet is, at this moment, an incredible asset to the industry and our communities.

Alaska’s long-time fishermen serve as repositories of wisdom and much needed mentors. These fishermen are integral to intergenerational learning and ensuring multigenerational connections to place, culture and livelihood. The experiences and insights of veteran community-based fishermen are among the many tools that the next generation needs to be successful. This transfer of local and fishing knowledge, values and practices requires more than a willingness to ‘pass down’ knowledge. This transfer hinges on whether the next generation of fishermen has actual opportunity to enter into the commercial fishing industry and become owner-operators.

AMCC has been at the forefront of efforts to support the next generation of Alaska commercial fishermen. Through research on the graying of the fleet, national legislation such as the Young Fishermen’s Development Program, our active participation at the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, and programs like the Young Fishing Fellows Program and Alaska Young Fishermen’s Network, we are dedicated to developing solutions to ensure the socioecological health of our fisheries.

rft blog_quoteAs part of this effort, we have been watching and weighing in on HB 188, legislation that would enable the creation of Regional Fisheries Trusts in Alaska. AMCC supports HB 188, and the Regional Fisheries Trust concept, because it is a tool that will help ensure that the life history and age structure of Alaska fisheries remains balanced and diverse.

These regional trusts are highly controlled and will provide a path to local and independent ownership for Alaska residents; as a result, they will stem the outmigration of permits from our coastal communities. This is not an untested idea. Other fishing regions, including Maine, Massachusetts, Newfoundland and Norway have created similar tools that anchor access rights in fishing communities to bolster local economies and support new and rural fishermen in overcoming the sometimes impassable barriers to entry into commercial fisheries. 

Regional Fisheries Trusts will not single handedly solve the problems affecting our fisheries and communities, but it is an important part of the suite of solutions that Alaska needs to be advancing. Trusts recreate the opportunity (e.g., diversity, history and structure) that is fundamental to the health of our fishing communities and help to recapture some of the benefits currently leaving Alaska in the form of rights, income and livelihood.    

HB 188 was read across the House floor on March 20, 2017. You can read the full bill here.

This post was inspired by recent conversations on a number of worthwhile texts, including Mountain in the Clouds by Bruce Brown, Poe et al. 2013, Pitcher et al. 2013 and several research articles authored by Courtney Carothers.

Rachel Donkersloot is AMCC’s Working Waterfronts program director. Shannon Carroll is AMCC’s fisheries policy director. 



Spring Catch Available Now: Halibut, Spot Prawns, & Salmon Bites

Date Posted: April 24, 2017       Category: AMCC Blog       Tags: Catch of the Season, community supported fishery, Local Seafood

Happy spring local seafood lovers! We are excited to announce that a tasty and fresh spring lineup is ready for you to place your order, fill your freezer, and liven up your dinner parties as the Alaskan days get longer.

Delectable halibut from Homer that is making its first appearance as part of our community supported fishery. A limited supply of mouth-watering, pot-caught Prince William Sound spot prawns are also back on the menu. New to the mix is a fabulous new product sure to be a favorite at lunchtime or for camping trips: Dear North,™ Salmon Bites, created by new Alaskan native-owned company based in Juneau and most recently a winner of the 2017 Alaska Symphony of Seafood!

Click here for full details. Order by Friday, May 19th!

 

 



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PHYSICAL ADDRESS: 106 F Street; Anchorage, AK 99501
CONTACT US     (907) 277-5357